The CH3 Test Kitchen: The Steak

Test Subject:


It satisfies the savage soul, to attack a singular piece of flesh, enhanced only by flame and the most basic of spice.
To eat a steak is to reconnect with our fanged ancestors, and to let the warmed red juices awaken the instincts dulled by conference calls and baby showers.

Is there any other food that evokes such strong memories, fond memories, of glorious meals past, yet time and again disappoints when made at home in the old kitchen?

You salivate at the recollection of that one night dining out with your Dad, he letting the Business expense go wild at Morton’s and allowing you to get the Bone-in Ribeye as well as the crab cocktail.

Maybe you were both three deep in the Maker’s doubles, and Pop loosened his tie and told stories of his own wild days just after college.

And you both sat there across from each other, stuffing dripping pink pieces of cowflesh into your already full mouths.
You relished the fact he was finally talking to you as an adult as much as he was enjoying a dialogue with no apparent sarcasm and eye rolling–good stuff!

So savory and orgasmic was the meal, you didn’t even notice that he just set you up on your own payment plan for that tremendous student loan.

So what happens, on that chilly Fall evening, when you think you’ll treat yourself to a steak dinner once again?
You take that styrofoam and shrink wrapped thing home from Pavillions and put it to flame, only to end up with a barely edible piece of gray matter:


And then what?
You trim around the gristle and white fat, determined to relive some of your past beef glories:
You sullenly hack at this piece of crap, desperately searching for some sort of grain and color that will honor those dear nights.

And, then, there ya sit, chewing and chewing away, less the cow and cud and more the crack whore absentmindedly soothing her gums on the last used condom of the night.

And as the stringy meat slowly dissolves into a swallowable paste, so too go all the ideals and honor of youth.


New York Strip Steak, 12 Oz
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Olive Oil

..the walk of shame…

Well, here’s your first goddamn mistake!
You bought your meat at the corporate grocery store down the street, am I right?

It’s a well known fact that the beef sold in the majors these days is laden with hormone and corn by-product, and government standard and code has been loosely translated and diluted enough that most of the beef you are buying here is actually jackal or coyote meat.

Step away, son!

Yeah, yeah–I know: but it’s a third off, and you’ll be cooking it right up, and it might not be so bad with some dry rub and, gee, maybe that girl you met on the internet will turn out to be an actual female this time, and…
Wake Up dummy!

Come with us to a real beef slinger, yeah?

You got it, a cathedral of all things recently deceased and delicious, Huntington’s own Beef Palace!

Maybe you’ve seen it, as you rolled down Warner on your way to Johnny’s for the ink-n-drink Pabst rally, eh?
You pull into the parking lot and go past the odd bovine sentries standing guard….

How many HB drunks have humped these gals, hmmm?

…and you pull the door open to enter the magical land of protein!

The paneled walls shimmer with the Aurora Borealic glow that comes from the pristine glass displays.
You walk along the hallways of flesh, your mouth barely containing the drool as you see–yes, yes–now you understand! how an animal is respectfully dismantled and displayed for its ultimate glory!

Choose yer meat:
Oh, I know the Ribeye, that drunken slut of the slaughterhouse is all the rage these days, but forget it.
Most homes simply don’t have the proper heat to sear and caramelize the ridiculous rivulets of fat running thorough that bitch.

And don’t get us started on that goddamn Filet Mignon!
Flavorless and superior, these useless cuts are the Queensryche of the meat world.

No, the true measure of a quality butcher shop is revealed in the humble New York Strip!

Genius in its simplicity

Be cool to the fellas, as in any drug deal, and let them know you know the score.

Hesitate at the glass for a few minutes before asking if there might be something, you know, special going on in the back?
And if you didn’t blow it like a high school narc with nose hairs they’ll bring out a properly aged hunk of meat, all concentrated flavors and blue sheen, and hack a slice off the end:
Approximating the space between thumb and forefinger you hold up, a bold gang sign of appetite and belief.

…yo, that’s Crip with a capital C cuz!


From Bukowski’s Ham on Rye (Harper Collins, 1982):

“Now the way you fry a porterhouse steak,” he told the class, “you get the pan red hot, you drink a shot of whiskey and then you pour a thin layer of salt in the pan. You drop the steak in and sear it but not for too long. Then you flip it, sear the other side, drink another shot of whiskey, take the steak out and eat it immediately.”

Heh–fuckin Chuck.
But you know what? He’s not far off.

We’re gonna be using a cast iron pan, lots of heat, and yeah-there might be a snort or two……!

Oh, I know you’re tempted to fire up the ol’ Weber and grill this treasure outside, but don’t do it!

First off, that thing is disgusting, dripping black stalactites of Bratwurst fat, and the carbonized bits of Mahi Mahi from last June’s wicky wacky luau will only contaminate this honorable meat.

Ooooh, what if Alton Brown saw this mess?

Besides, you know how it always happens out at the grill, admit it:
You start out vigilant over the flame, beer in hand, but pretty soon it’s Jack and Cokes over round three of fooseball, and dinner has suddenly become a chunk of coal on the flaming kettle as you hit the speed dial for fuckin Domino’s!
Yeah, we see ya!

No, cast iron and some finish up in the oven is all we’re looking for here brother.
And even though this is just for a single steak, let’s still use the big pan so as to let the meat sizzle, not steam!

I’m thinking any pan approximately the size of a live vinyl recorded with a drunken German pickup band will do just fine:

…I knew those imports were good for something!

Preheat the oven to 375, and put that pan to flame pal!

Now, your old pals at the CH3 Test Kitchen would never recommend you leaving the oven on and a glowing red pan on the range as you skipped out for a cocktail, but let’s go ahead and do just that:

Maybe just one Sazerac and a pilsner and we’ll be right back, yeah?

…drinking? How dare you–I’m cooking dinner!

We’re back!
House still standing?

Alright, things go fast at this point, so pay attention and turn off the TV set, will ya?
Don’t worry, your beloved Sons of Anarchy will still be there when we’re done cooking, bad acting and atrocious dialogue intact!

…ok, so HellBoy is King Lear, Peg Bundy gets raped by Henry Rollins, and the kid wears white shoes on a Harley…….ya lost me!

Our pal needs nothing more than a massage with olive oil, some coarse salt and black pepper.
That’s it!!

And now, meat to pan!

This pan is fucking hot, so only cook each side as long as you can hold your breath or as long as it takes to text your boss and let him know what’s really wrong with his precious company, ya hear me, your majesty?!

Don’t forget to sear off the sides and render that delicious fat!

Who’s a good baby? You are, yes you are!

And now we just pop the whole thing in the oven and step back, letting the convection heat finish this project, 297 seconds, tops!

In the meantime, all we need to do is steam some asparagus in the micro and poach an egg.


We haven’t covered these basics yet?
Well, yer on your own, this goddamn posting is already too long—we’re supposed to be a punk rock band site, remember?! sheesh!

Make sure the water is rolling clockwise (counter for our Aussie readers!)

Take out our jewel and let rest for 8 minutes, roll out the asparagus in the delicious pan drippings, and plate!

Look at it, it’s a thing of beauty!
And as you sit down with a rascally Zin and Apocolypse Now, Redux on the flat screen, you sigh the contented exhalation of a man who has honored his carnivorous ghosts and mastered the meat……..!


Patience, she thinks. I’ve seen this guy pass out mid-meal a thousand times…patience

PNW 2012: Deconstructed


Oh, we try to be good.

To live on the dark side of fifty, we now put on the reading glasses when haunting the grocery aisle.
Sodium count is noted and discretely added to the end count abacus that constantly clicks in our heads.
Cans of luxurious fatty corned beef, just the thing for that hungover breakfast on Sunday, are inspected and regretfully placed back on the shelf.

Maybe those rice cakes will be okay, and, whoa! dipped in plain yogurt if we’re feeling crazy, huh?

But it’s a different story out on the weekend road, brother, when we briefly escape the earthly bounds of mortality and sensible footwear.
For a glorious 3 or 4 days it is perfectly fine to hydrate with Mountain Dew and oil cans of warm PBR, and that late night cheese covered snack, calorie count fifteen times the local speed limit, is not only logical but necessary.

Olympia: Tot-chos! Oh, yes we did….

Goopy bar snacks, gas station sausages, strip club breakfasts, tamales sold out of plastic hefty bags by the one eyed midget in Portland: all fair game.
We order not only the Tonkatsu ramen at Biwa, more than enough for any man, but also every skewer of gizzard and organ that can fit on the glowing robata grill.

..the right atrium were a tad chewy, but the left ventricle divine!
Gay bar hot dog. Too easy.
Oh right, Canada. Poutine please.
Pepper jack burger, Jake’s, Olympia

We start each day in the same way, different motel bathrooms.
Vitamin C, Sam-E, Prilosec, Lipitor, Immodium.
These are the backstage drugs now.

We line the pills up like vintage Soviet tanks awaiting their turn in a North Korean military parade.
And when they are finally waved through, after their presentation before the tiny uvula dictator, we are ready to start another day, with all its glorious nutrition, anew.


We show up at the club and drop the guest list, its size depending on how badly we burned bridges last time through.
Some towns, we know enough people for a good sized Tupperware party.
Others, not so much.

Those nights, we scan the crowd for the one dude with the homemade CH3 T shirt, ply him with drinks and get him to sit behind the merch booth while we inspect the equipment we are borrowing tonight.

Slingin the platter, Vancouver.
El Corazon, Seattle

For we travel light, only guitars in hand, and have to rely on the kindness of the local bands for backline.
We will say this: The quality of the gear, amps and drums, is unquestionably better these days.
Gone are the days of plugging straight into the board or the homemade toaster head sitting atop a plywood 3 x 12 cabinet.

Oh, those nights of dodgy input jacks and tricky amps, that have to be turned on just so……
No, the stuff is pretty good, and most nights better than the poor abused boxes that wait for us back home.

Ron Reyes and Piggy!

But our lips still hold the subtle callous of the constantly electrocuted.
Ah. those sweet nights of being kissed with visible blue spark, our human heads completing the circuit between guitar string, microphone and faulty ground.

And if only our loved ones can detect the slight scar of lower lip, and feel the still buzzing electricity that has altered our internal pulse by just a click, they mercifully accept us, and put a gentle fingertip up to the wound, as if to soothe us and say shhhh.


Last call, Victory Lounge, Seattle
Biwa, Portland

They say we have no change of Seasons in Southern California….pffft.

What do you call that subtle change in late September, when the germinated Queen Palms along Ocean Boulevard suddenly sprout with snowy seed?
Or hoho, when the temperature dips below 75 that first time of the year, and sends us scurrying for the Winter wardrobe of closed toed shoes and sturdy Pendleton?

Or what about….ah fuck it, yer right.
I got nothing here.

Fall colors of Washington

It’s the same familiar unfamiliarity, when we hit the tarmac and and that first blast of cool Fall air hits us.
Oh, so this is what it feels like, weather.

We fall to knee right there on the moving walkway and pull out thermals and drinking sweaters, giggling at the goosebumps upon our tan forearms.
We arrive at the car rental counter bundled and fuzzy warm as preschoolers ready to assemble the first snowman of the year.

Vancouver BC

It is the grand treat to come back to these places, and we measure ourselves against the glowing memories of the last time through.
In the cramped rental car, with head lodged between anvil case and box of merch, it is more than enough to just gaze out the window at the world going by.

In these quiet times you take a quick survey of the day, how the voice is holding up with a discete hmmmm, and how many miles it is til the next city appears on the horizon.
You look out and see a sudden, outrageous burst of color above tree trunk, a fiery final protest of life before the bleak Winter to come.


Halloween party, Iron Road Studios Vancouver

It’s that same sensation, every night.
You pull open the door to the club, and are met with that first exhalation of smoke and sweat, the sound of people drinking, maybe clank and tang of a kitchen being closed up for the night.
You try to detect in a sniff which way the night will go, before taking a peek inside to see the headcount and making the quick calculations if the promoter will be jolly or tearfull at night’s end.

A dozen eyes glow out from the darkness, canine and hungry, and you can just make out the comic caption clouds floating above the twinned fireflies:
The band is here.
Alright fuckers, show us what ya got!

We see dear and familiar faces from other adventures, re connect with heroes from our past:
And without fail, we end up with new friends by night’s end.

Interview with Andy:

Seattle, we meet up with Andy Nystrom for a quick interview post-set. He does an admirable job getting his story, as we’re all obsessed with last call and missing guitar cords.

Ant stocking up on duty free snacks!

Maybe you remember a Sunday afternoon when you were pulled out of treehouse and made to put on shoes, only to be swept into the station wagon, soon lulled into a carbon monoxide slumber on some interminable cross town jaunt.

Then you reached your destination, and your parents only set you loose in a different backyard, sometimes kid free, other times jealously guarded over by your snot nosed doppelganger.
And when you cupped your tiny paws around your eyes to peer through the screen door, you could see your parents in there, with another couple or maybe two: Dad with legs crossed in a jaunty way, conducting some ribald tale with his miniature cigarette baton.
There is a peal of laughter and then Mom punches Pop in the arm, good natured, her eyes shiny with laughter and love.

For God sake, they’re just in there…..talking!

Visiting, is what they’d call it….. old people.

And then you’d roll your eyes to the heavens and slap your thighs once again as you turned back to the yard in search of a toy to break or insect to torture.
They’re just in there talking!

And besides those brief minutes, when we strap on the guitars and roam around the stage, that’s all we’re really doing: visiting.